An unmarried Mother has all the control concerning the care and custody of her child born out of wedlock until the Father has his paternity adjudicated and his custody established. In Minnesota, when a child is born to an unmarried couple, the Mother automatically has sole legal and sole physical custody of the minor child.
If an unmarried Father does not establish his custody and have his parenting time determined, then an unmarried Mother has complete discretion and authority in making major parenting decisions without involving the Father. Without ever consulting the Father, an unmarried Mother can elect where the child attends school, if the child will be baptized, or even having the child undergo an elective medical surgery. An unmarried Mother determines the parenting time schedule, if any, between the minor child and the Father. An unmarried Mother has all the power and the unmarried Father is at her mercy.
An unmarried Father must have the Court establish him as the legal Father in order to have rights, such as custody and parenting time. Putting a Father’s name on a birth certificate or having the unmarried couple sign a Recognition of Parenting (ROP) is not automatic recognition that the man is the legal Father of the child.
An unmarried Father, who has not signed a ROP or been named on the child’s birth certificate, can establish he is the legal father of the minor child by starting a paternity action with Court. A ROP and birth certificate are starting points to allow an unmarried Father to bypass a paternity action and proceed to Court to be determined the legal Father of a child, and make requests for custody and parenting time.
If you have questions related to a possible paternity, child custody questions, or parenting time concerns, please do not hesitate to
contact our office (952) 224-9410